Summary : The second of the National Geographic Explorer’s voyages through the Northwest Passage, this expedition takes on a historic challenge: Can you navigate the famously ice-clogged Fury and Hecla Strait? If conditions are right, navigate this exciting passage, and spend the following days exploring south of Baffin Island—aboard ship, by Zodiacs, kayaks and onshore hikes—the islands of the Foxe basin and Hudson Strait, where both wildlife and discoveries will be plentiful. If the Fury and Hecla Strait is impassable, sail to the north of Baffin Island, very familiar waters to National Geographic Explorer, filled with whales, birds and polar bears. The landscape is equally stunning, with great places to hike, kayak or Zodiac cruise, as well as plenty of late-season ice still to be found clinging to Baffin’s eastern shore. Explore the wild and pristine Canadian High Arctic: Baffin Island, Labrador and Newfoundland, where you’ll conclude the expedition in St. John’s.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
Free Subscription: Complimentary 1-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine (one per booking).
$999,999,999 to $0
Fly to Edmonton and overnight at your hotel.
This morning, fly to Kugluktuk, a traditional fishing hamlet and the most westerly community in the territory of Nunavut, where you embark National Geographic Explorer and begin your Northwest Passage adventure.
The Northwest Passage: the legendary sea passage of the North American continent, representing centuries of effort to find a trade route from the Atlantic Ocean through the Arctic archipelago over the top of Canada. One of the world’s greatest maritime challenges, the route is located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. An ultimate ice ship, National Geographic Explorer, follows nature’s path, dependent on ice and weather conditions. Explore the ice-choked channels and glacier-carved islands that stretch for hundreds of miles—a stunning display of raw geology. Take cues from nature: following wildlife, stopping for hikes on the tundra, and dropping anchor in a beautiful fjord or an iceberg-strewn bay to kayak or explore by Zodiac. You may encounter ringed seals, arctic foxes, musk oxen, walruses and polar bears, as well as beluga and bowhead whales, and perhaps even the rare narwhal. Learn about the Inuit peoples who have hunted and fished here for thousands of years. And hear heroic stories of the early explorers: Roald Amundsen, John Ross, William Edward Parry, and James Clark Ross among others.
All eyes will be on the Bridge as the Captain and his officers study the satellite ice imagery to decide whether ice conditions allow you to go south or north around Baffin Island. A narrow passage, filled with islands and clogged with ice even during the summer months which has made it impassable for most ships—the Fury and Hecla Strait is your quest. The strait is named after the two ships of Sir William Edward Parry, who spent many years searching for the Northwest Passage. If conditions are right and you are able to navigate this exciting passage, spend the following days exploring—via ship, Zodiac, kayak and hikes ashore—the islands of the Foxe Basin and Hudson Strait. Wildlife and exciting new explorations will be plentiful. If the Fury and Hecla Strait is impassable, sail to the north of Baffin Island, very familiar waters to National Geographic Explorer, filled with whales, birds and polar bears. The landscape is equally as stunning with great places to hike, kayak or Zodiac cruise, as well as plenty of late-season ice still to be found clinging reliably to parts of the eastern shore of Baffin Island.
Like the Vikings before you, venture south along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, stopping at scenic Ikkudliayuk Fjord, and on to the quirkily named Button Islands, which attract thousands of seabirds and marine mammals. At Hebron, a Moravian Mission was established in the 1830’s to minister to the Inuit, and you see the original buildings. Next stop is Mugford Tickle, yet another scenic highlight with the 4,000-foot-high Kaumajet Mountains. Spend a day on the island of Quaker Hat, shaped like a broad-brimmed hat, exploring the fishing settlement of Indian Harbor and observing vast colonies of common murres. Continue to scenic Battle Harbour, with its historic 18th-century whaling buildings.
In 1960, the remains of a Viking village established in the 11th century were discovered at L’Anse aux Meadows, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk among the Norse ruins and reconstructed sod huts and learn the saga of the Vikings in North America—nearly 500 years before Columbus arrived.
Graced by cliffs, fjords, and a sweeping alpine plateau, Gros Morne National Park has been designated a World Heritage site for its spectacular geology. Take a walk with your geologist to learn about the forces that shaped this land and the ancient serpentine rock that illustrates the phenomenon of plate tectonics. Continue to Western Brook Pond, a pristine, glacier-carved fjord.
After a morning at sea, go ashore at Saint Pierre Island, France’s oldest remaining overseas territory. Enjoy free time to explore the wharf and soak up the French culture.
Disembark this morning in St. John’s and transfer to the airport for flights home.
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Lindblad Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.
Accommodations aboard ship; one hotel night in Edmonton; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship; some meals ashore; all shore excursions and sightseeing; transfers to and from group flights; tips (except to ship's crew), taxes and service charges; services of a ship physician and expedition staff; use of kayaks; expedition parkas.
Air transportation; passport and visa expenses; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; immigration fees; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, email and laundry; gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo © Michael S Nolan - Kayaking